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The chefs are collaborating on a farm-to-table menu that will highlight the freshness of the spring season.

Berkshires Beat: Berkshire Grown Hosts Spring Supper

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Spring Supper

Berkshire Grown chefs will celebrate the coming of spring at the Spring Supper on Monday, April 8. Host chef Alex Hammond of the Mezze Restaurant Group has assembled a talented group of local chefs: Daire Rooney Corcoran from Morgan's at Interlaken Inn, Alex Hammond from Mezze Catering, James Lowe of the Pittsfield Country Club, Peter Platt from The Old Inn on The Green, and Doria Polinger of H.R. Zepplin Fine Handmade Chocolates. The chefs are collaborating on a farm-to-table menu that will highlight the freshness of the spring season.

This year's event is at the Country Club of Pittsfield and benefits Berkshire Grown and its win-win project, Share the Bounty. Share the Bounty supports farmers through the purchase of local CSA farm shares and helps feed hungry families by giving that farm-fresh food to local food pantries and community kitchens as well as WIC families.

Guests will have the opportunity to bid on dinner and wine pairing for eight at The Old Inn on the Green and to sponsor shares in Share the Bounty. Massachusetts state Sen. Adam Hinds is honorary chair of the Event Committee, joined by Allison Rachele Bayles, Hester Velmans and Peter Cherneff, Kathy and Neil Chrisman and Berkshire Agricultural Ventures, Roberta and Steven Haas, Silka Glanzman and Jake Levin, Martha Sauer and David Rosenthal, Marjorie and Barry Shapiro, and Lee Venolia and Jay Thoman.

Tickets, by reservation only, are $125 for Berkshire Grown members, $150 for non-members. To make a reservation or for more information visit the website or call 413-528-0041. The Country Club of Pittsfield is located at 639 South St.


'Student Works' at Rockwell

'Freedom from Gun Violence' by Leila Bates from Columbia High School in East Greenbush, N.Y., is part of the Student Works show at the Norman Rockwell Museum.

While its acclaimed exhibit "Enduring Ideals: Rockwell, Roosevelt & The Four Freedoms" continues its international tour this year, Norman Rockwell Museum is once again teaming up with New York's Capital Area Art Supervisors to present an exhibition of student artwork closer to home, exploring what freedom means for a new generation. "Reimagining The Four Freedom: Student Works from the Capital Region" will return to the museum for its fourth year, with an exhibit on view through April 14.

"Reimagining The Four Freedoms" will display original artworks, created in a variety of mediums, by New York State high school students, grades nine through 12, enrolled in Studio in Art classes in Albany, Rensselaer and Schenectady County. Each work will relate to a freedom most important to the individual student. Participating high schools include Berne-Knox-Westerlo, Bethlehem, Columbia, Mohonasen, Niskayuna, Rensselaer, Schalmont and Scotia.  

A special closing reception for the artists and public will be held on Sunday, April 14, from 2 to 4 p.m. 


'Food for Fines'

As part of its celebration of National Library Week, the Berkshire Athenaeum is offering a modified fines amnesty from Monday, April 8, through Saturday, April 13. During this week, the library will accept non-perishable food items in lieu of paying fines for overdue books.

The food-for-fines program, now in its 24th year, provides a fun and meaningful way for overdue library materials to be returned. Food is accepted for payment of overdue fines for items currently in circulation as well as outstanding overdue fines from other transactions. The replacement costs of lost or damaged materials may not be resolved by donated food.

Collection boxes will be located at the Adult Circulation Desk and at the Children's Service Desk. When "paying" a fine with donated food items, please notify a staff member before placing the donation in a box.

During the amnesty period, in addition to food brought in lieu of fines, the athenaeum will also accept general donations of food not associated with overdue library books. All donated food will be distributed to food pantries in Pittsfield.


'Take a Walk in a Park' Day

One hundred and 25 members of the public gathered for National Take a Walk in a Park Day on March 30 at Willow Park in Bennington, Vt. The family-friendly event included a scavenger hunt, giveaways, snacks, a raffle for a year-long membership to the YMCA/Bennington Recreation Center, and certificates of completion.

"We are so pleased that so many people came out to enjoy this fun and active event," said Andrea Malinowski, RiseVT’s program coordinator in Bennington County. "It is great to see people enjoy the outdoors with their families and neighbors and get a little exercise while they are at it."

RiseVT partners for the event included the Alliance for Community Transformations, Bennington ACES (a youth tennis program, which stands for Academic Community Engagement Support), Hannaford Supermarket of Bennington, Southwestern Vermont Health Care, and YMCA\Bennington Recreation Center. Families enjoyed a warm breezy day as they attempted to earn 71 scavenger-hunt points through physical challenges like hula hooping and jumping rope.

RiseVT is a statewide health initiative to help all Vermonters embrace healthy lifestyles where they live, work, learn and play. More information can be found online.


Cultural Council grants

A total of $72,055 will be distributed to 83 grant recipients across Northern Berkshire County to support cultural programming and institutions through the Northern Berkshire Cultural Council. The funding is from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the state agency charged with promoting excellence, inclusion, education and diversity in the arts, humanities, and sciences to foster a rich cultural life for all Commonwealth residents. In doing so the MCC contributes to the vitality of our communities and economy.

A complete list of award recipients, project titles and grant amounts is available online. The Northern Berkshire Cultural Council is part of a network of 329 Local Cultural Councils (LCC) serving all 351 cities and towns in the Commonwealth.  Massachusetts’ LCC Program is the largest grassroots cultural funding network in the nation, supporting thousands of community-based projects in the arts, sciences, and humanities every year. The state Legislature provides an annual appropriation to the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency, which then allocates funds to each community.

Decisions about which activities to support are made at the community level by a board of municipally appointed volunteers. Contact chair Tammara Leminen at 413-841-9088 or by email to discuss filling one of the 12 vacancies listed: Adams: Henry Klein & Linda Rhoads; Cheshire: Treasurer Shannon Badorini and one vacant; Clarksburg: two vacant; Florida: two vacant; Hancock: two vacant; Lanesborough: Stephanie Abrams and one vacant; Monroe: two vacant; New Ashford: Chair Tammara Leminen & Leo Mazzeo; North Adams: Co-Chair Arthur Debow and one vacant; Savoy: Secretary Jacqueline Metsma and one vacant; and Williamstown: Cecelia Hirsch and Jane Hudson.


PSA Days

For the second year, Pittsfield Community Television offered free production services to area nonprofit organizations at a three-day event titled "PSA Days." The production marathon, held on March 14, 15 and 16, enabled 20 local nonprofits and local agencies to create a television or radio public service announcement for their own use.

More than thirty individual announcements were created by PCTV at the event. Participating organizations are free to use the spots on websites, social media, and at their events.  The video PSAs are played on the television channels operated by PCTV, and the radio PSAs can be heard on WTBR-FM, Pittsfield Community Radio.  PCTV staff worked with representatives of the various organizations for about two months of "pre-production" work prior to the production event.

PCTV estimates the total value of all the productions and air time to be around $45,000. PCTV will premiere a compilation program containing each of the PSAs produced during the event, on Access Pittsfield, channel 1301, in early May. Nonprofit organizations that were unable to secure a spot in this year's PSA Days event are welcome to participate in future productions.


Oldtone grants

Oldtone Productions, the producer of The Oldtone Roots Music Festival and the Northeast Fiddlers' Convention, received four Local Cultural Council grants for their concerts and dances at Dewey Hall. The towns of Sheffield, Alford-Egremont, Monterey, and Mount Washington granted funds to Oldtone in this round of Massachusetts Cultural Council grants.

The producers of Oldtone are dedicated to the preservation of old time music and the communities created around those arts. In 2016, they began holding concerts with roots performers at Dewey Hall, and in 2017 added community Swing Dances to mix, with instructors of this American Dance form and live music at each event. In 2019, Oldtone will bring over a dozen bands/performers to the hall for at least 16 events.

Dewey Hall has been being used for community music and social gatherings since it was built in 1887 in honor of the Unitarian and free thinker Orville Dewey. Oldtone will have a Swing Dance once a month on the third Fridays in 2019. In addition to their recent Bruce Molsky concert, Jerron Paxton and Dennis Lichtman are scheduled to appear at the Dewey Hall on May 3, Cedric Watson on Nov 9, and Tony Trischka on December 12.

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Pittsfield Chooses Tyer And Mazzeo For Mayoral Election

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Voters casting ballots at Tuesday's preliminary election chose mayoral candidates Linda Tyer and Melissa Mazzeo to face off for the general election in November.
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